How to Check Car Oil at Home

Checking oil level on dipstick


Your car requires good quality engine oil to operate at peak performance and efficiency in Charlotte. Changing your oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles will ensure you enjoy many years of high-level performance, but what can you do in between oil changes? Checking the oil level and quality once per month is a preventative measure that is easy to do at home in Pineville! Read on with the Hendrick Cadillac Monroe service center to learn how to check your oil level in your own garage.

How to Check the Oil Level in a Car, Step By Step

If you’re driving a more modern vehicle, it may be equipped with an oil life monitoring system (OLMS) that would eliminate the need to check the oil yourself. The OLMS monitors engine revolutions, engine temperature, and miles driven to let you know how much oil life remains, as well as when you need to replace the oil. 

If you do not have an OLMS, simply follow these instructions to learn how to check car oil using a dipstick:

  1. Park your car on level ground and allow the engine to cool completely so you don’t get burned. 
  2. Open the hood and locate the oil dipstick. 
  3. Grab the plastic tab on the dipstick to pull it out of the engine completely. 
  4. Use an old rag to wipe the oil off the end of the dipstick, then insert the dipstick back into the engine compartment. 
  5. Pull the dipstick out again and check the oil level. If the top of the fluid line is between the two marks or within a cross-hatched area, you can conclude that the oil level is where it should be. 

If the oil line falls below the bottom mark or below the cross-hatched area on the dipstick, the oil level is too low and needs to be topped off. Remove the oil filler cap and add a small amount of oil using a funnel for accuracy. Check the oil level again, then add more oil as needed. Repeat the process until the oil level is correct.

Why Should You Check the Oil Level?

If your car doesn’t have enough oil, the engine’s moving parts will lack the lubrication needed to prevent friction and other types of wear. If you check your oil level once per month or more and it’s low every time, this would indicate that there’s an oil leak that needs to be addressed. This is why it’s important to check your oil regularly — doing so will help you catch any potential problems before they snowball and become more expensive to fix.

How to Reset the Oil Change Light 

On occasion, the oil change light might remain illuminated even after you have the oil changed. This is usually pretty easy to fix, but you should only try to turn the light off if you’ve actually changed the oil. You don’t want to risk missing an oil change because it could cause extensive damage. 

How to Reset Oil Change Light On Most Vehicles

  • Turn all systems of your car off, but leave the engine running.
  • Find the “reset” button or stick on the dashboard (often near the speedometer and fuel gauge).
  • Hold the button down until the oil change light begins to flash or otherwise indicates that it’s resetting itself.
  • Turn the ignition off, wait a few seconds, then turn your car back on.

Trusted Oil Service in Monroe

If you’re worried there’s an issue with your engine oil or you’re overdue for an oil change, schedule an appointment at Hendrick Cadillac Monroe. Our service center is located near Concord and we provide fast, affordable service so you can get back on the road quickly. Don’t forget to review our current service offers before visiting so you can save on essential oil service!

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Well-qualified customers who purchase a new, used, or certified pre-owned vehicle, 4 model years or newer with less than 60K miles between December 1, 2023, and January 12, 2024, and finance through a participating dealer and lender have the option to defer monthly payments for 90 days from contract date. Finance charges begin to accrue on the date you sign the Retail Installment Sale Contract at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the contract. May not be combined with other preferred lender financing offers. 72 months maximum term limit. Equal monthly payments only. Not available to Pennsylvania residents; see your dealer for details. Must take retail delivery by January 12, 2024. See dealer for complete down payment options and details.

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